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Published:February 20th, 2009 17:40 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Highwaymen, Jimmy Stovall Celebrating Black History Month

Judyth Piazza chats with Highwaymen, Jimmy Stovall Celebrating Black History Month

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

 

On the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln`s birth, Governor Charlie Crist this evening will host a group of more than 200 community leaders, educators and students at the Governor`s Mansion to celebrate Black History Month. He will also honor Points of Light winners, student and teacher contest winners, and Robert Butler, one of the original Florida Highwaymen artists, who has loaned original paintings for exhibit in the Governor`s Mansion and at the State Capitol to commemorate this celebration. 

The diversity of Florida`s people and communities brings our entire state tremendous vitality for our culture, our economy and our lives, Governor Crist said. Today we celebrate the contributions of past and present generations of African-Americans and look forward with great hope and anticipation to the promise of future generations.

Earlier today during at a civil rights round table discussion, Governor Crist marked the centennial and bicentennial events by appointing Adora Obi Nweze of Miami as Special Advisor to the Governor on Minority Affairs. She will continue as president of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP.

One of Robert Butler`s paintings featured at the event will be Morning at the Old Capitol. Butler`s professional career began in 1968. He honed his skills by pushing the limits of his artistic talents and accumulated a vast amount of knowledge by creating more than one hundred paintings a year. With no formal training to facilitate an inherent artistic spirit, he developed a style now known worldwide as the Butler style,  and exemplified by a dramatically lit and romanticized portrayal of the landscape.

The Governor will honor three outstanding African-American educators with the Excellence in Education Award for their contributions to education in Florida. These individuals were nominated for the honor by students and peers, and each will receive an award check for $1,500 plus a $250 gift certificate from Scholastic for educational materials.

Excellence in Education award winners are:

· Dwana Styles " Escambia High School in Pensacola, 12th grade, economics and American government


· Darryl B. Baker " Miami Springs Middle School in Miami Springs, 6th and 7th grades, gifted world geography and gifted civics

· Patricia Fairclough " Air Base Elementary School in Homestead, 2nd grade

Three student essay-contest winners and three art-contest winners will also be announced. Winners of the art contest will receive a $250 gift card, and essay-contest winners will receive a four-year college scholarship from Florida Prepaid College Plans plus a $50 gift certificate from Scholastic for educational materials.

Student art-contest winners are:

· Myles McCants " Bethune Academy in Haines City, 1st grade.

· Jack Veatch " Chaires Elementary in Tallahassee, 3rd grade.

Student essay-contest winners are:

· Morgan Smith " Nap Ford Community School in Ocoee, 5th grade.

· Terrance Hudson " Powell Middle School in Brooksville, 7th grade.

· Kiandra Brown " Wekiva High School in Apopka, 10th grade.

The Governor will also recognize this month`s Point of Light winners, sponsored by CSX and AAA Auto Club South, honoring Black History Month:

· Essie Reed of Fort Lauderdale " For 22 years, Essie has provided food, shelter, clothing and other support to members of the community using only private donations. Essie, known among the people she serves as Big Mama,  worked for many years to raise money for a community center for children and adults facing difficult times leading to ABC television`s Extreme Home Makeover  building the Team of Life Community Center in 2006. The shelter feeds needy people throughout the community, provides an after-school tutorial program for the neighborhood, hosts groups of at-risk women and children, and offers a summer program. In addition to her shelter, Essie sponsors a college scholarship program with the assistance of a private foundation.

· Theodore Teddy  Floyd of Vero Beach " A deputy with the Indian River County Sheriff`s Office for more than 22 years, mentors a host of children and young people, tirelessly teaching them about the dangers of drugs and making wrong choices. Teddy volunteers as an assistant coach to the Vero Beach High School football team and leads the Sheriff`s Explorers. He also serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity, Progressive Civil League, NAACP and Treasure Coast Business League. Teddy also donates his time to the Every Dream Has a Price Inc., a non-profit organization that assists with building or renovating dilapidated housing to provide a safe and clean environment for the impoverished residents.

· Darian and Darius Hands of Tallahassee " These twins are making a difference in the lives of their peers. Since entering high school four years ago, the duo has helped other students earn fully paid scholarships to Florida universities. The Lincoln High School seniors have invested more than 900 hours of their time planning, organizing and coaching their school`s Black History Brain Bowl team for winter competition. These young men have sacrificed football games and parties, enduring long nights prepping for competition. Three other students, along with the brothers, have earned four-year scholarships to any university in Florida because of their unselfish efforts.

· David Nolan of St. Augustine " Nolan`s commitment to the preservation of the rich cultural history of the nation`s oldest city has provided thousands of Floridians and visitors the opportunity to learn about historic civil rights. Nolan provides city tours to visitors and local citizens where he shares his abundant knowledge of the city`s past, which played a major role in the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. He is also responsible for securing funding to preserve ten historical civil rights land markers located throughout St. Augustine. Nolan attends speaking engagements and offers free research services to individuals and organizations interested in learning about St. Augustine`s history. He has continually donated his time, money and talents for the education and enrichment of others and future generations.

The event is supported by Signature sponsors Prudential Financial and Florida Prepaid. Supporting sponsors are Coca-Cola and Tropicana. In-kind/Friend sponsors are Scholastic, Office Depot, and the Florida Department of State.

The Black History Month Celebration was developed by the Governor`s Volunteer Florida Foundation, the Executive Office of the Governor and the Governor`s Mansion Foundation. For more information on Florida`s celebration of Black History Month, please visit www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.

Press release from the Governor`s Press Office

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